KARACHI: Frustrated with K-Electric’s prolonged and unscheduled power load-shedding, residents of Lyari and its adjourning areas continued their protest on the Mauripur Road for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, causing massive traffic jams across the city.
The traffic on the city’s key artery has been suspended for over 15 hours. Besides patients, women were the worst affected by the massive traffic jam.
Clashes erupted between the police and the protesters when the officials tried to restore traffic on the road on Tuesday. The police baton-charged the protesters to disperse them. Meanwhile, the stone-pelting by the protesters left one police personnel injured.
On the other hand, the police took at least four protesters into custody. Following the clashes with the police, a large number of protesters again blocked the road.
Long queues of vehicles could be seen on the Hub River Road from Naval Colony to Agra Taj Colony and Gulbai to Siemens Chowrangi.
The negotiations between the protesters and police failed as they are yet to reach an agreement on calling off the demonstration despite the passage of more than 30 hours, resulting in the blockage of traffic on the main artery of the port city.
In a statement, City SSP Asif Bughio rejected reports that an elderly woman died after getting injured during the protests.
Denying the reports of her death during the protest, he said that the woman was of 70 years and the police were in contact with the deceased’s family for conducting her post-mortem.
“There is a power outage of more than 12 hours in the area. The residents are demanding that an FIR should be registered against her death,” the SSP said.
"The negotiations with the committee failed. The protesters have demanded that the arrested people be released and that a KE delegation be called in,” the SSP added.
A day earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the country might face increased load-shedding in the coming month of July.
His comments came during a meeting with PML-N members of the National Assembly and allied parties in the federal capital.
PM Shehbaz said that Pakistan could not get its required liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply, but that the coalition government is trying to make the deal possible.
Pakistan’s monthly fuel oil imports are set to hit a four-year high in June, Refinitiv data showed, as the country struggles to buy LNG for power generation amid a heatwave that is driving demand.
Pakistan is facing an escalation of its power crisis after it failed to agree on a deal for natural gas supply next month. Tenders for July were scrapped due to high price, and low participation as the nation is already taking action to tackle widespread blackouts.
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